According to the National Retail Association about 90% of us will have candy on our shopping list for Easter and our total spending will be about $2 billion. WOW.
Why is it that people who do not buy candy for most of the year, buy enormous baskets and fill them with chocolate, jelly beans, candy chickens, etc. for Easter? I think advertising and retail promotions, as well as peer pressure, are at work.
For Easter this year, how about buying one small bag of a favorite candy and then filling the Easter basket with stickers, whistles, pencils, plastic rings, coupons for ice cream, puzzles, playing cards, and bath toys.
We always hid Easter eggs when I was a kid. I think my parents must have hidden the eggs before we got up, but with seven kids the eggs got hidden several more times before they finally were stored in the refrigerator. The next few days we ate lots of egg salad, deviled eggs, creamed eggs on toast, etc. As I look back I wonder if we followed the USDA rule that Hard-cooked eggs should be refrigerated within 2 hours of cooking and used within a week. Maybe not…have food safety rules gotten stricter??
I make hard cooked eggs a couple times a month. They are nutritious, inexpensive, quick and very easy to make. I love our featured recipe, Creamy Egg-Salad Sandwich. We show it on whole wheat English muffins, but it is good spread on crackers if you chop the eggs a little finer. We also have a great deviled egg recipe that I often use as an appetizer.
For many, Easter is a time to decorate eggs for the egg hunt. I remember gathering around the kitchen table with my siblings decorating eggs by writing names and sticking on the decals. The next morning my parents hid the eggs the first time, then after the first kids got up and found the eggs, we re-hid them for the next group.
My own children and nieces and nephews continue this fun family tradition. Eggs are still relatively inexpensive and the basic dye kit only costs around $2. We have fun dyeing the eggs as well as hunting for them. These days, however, you do need to pay attention to food safety principles. The inside of an egg, once considered sterile, is now known to occasionally harbor Salmonella. Salmonella can cause an intestinal infection, so it is important to cook eggs to inactivate the bacteria, and then keep them cold.
The Egg Board recommends this method: place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan; add tap water to cover at least 1 inch above eggs; cover pan, place on burner and bring to a boil. Upon boiling, remove the pan from the burner; allow large eggs to set for 15 minutes (12 minutes for medium eggs, 18 minutes for extra large eggs); then place in ice cold water until completely cooled. This last step prevents the yolks from turning green by keeping the sulfur produced during the cooking process from adhering to the iron in the yolk and forming a green deposit.
Hard-cooked eggs can also be contaminated after cooking. The following steps will help keep hard-cooked eggs safe when coloring and hiding them. Don’t color or hide cracked eggs. If you plan to eat colored eggs, be sure to use food coloring or specially made food-grade egg dyes. Once eggs are colored, remember to keep them refrigerated in their cartons. Eggs out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours should be discarded. When hiding eggs, carefully place them in areas safe from contact with pets, wild animals, birds, reptiles, insects or lawn chemicals.